Zuma Says Police Shot Marikana 34 to Stop Violence, Times Says

South African President Jacob Zuma said police gunned down 34 mineworkers near Lonmin Plc’s mine in Marikana in August 2012 to prevent more people being killed, the Johannesburg-based Times reported.

“Those people in Marikana had killed people, and the police were stopping them from killing people,” Zuma told students at the Pretoria-based Tshwane University of Technology on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Zuma, 73, was urging students at the Pretoria-based Tshwane University of Technology not to resort to violence to raise issues after supporters of the ruling African National Congress and the country’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, traded blows outside a hall where he was to speak, the Times reports.

The presidency initiated a commission of inquiry led by retired judge Ian Farlam into the Aug. 16, 2012, killing of 34 protesting workers at the mine, the deadliest police action in South Africa since the end of apartheid. Ten more people, including police, died in earlier violence. The events took place around the operation that’s about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. Zuma is set to release the release the findings by the end of June.

Zuma’s spokesman, Harold Maloka, said he couldn’t comment at the time Bloomberg contacted him by phone regarding the media reports on Wednesday morning.

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